tv Mosaic World News LINKTV February 23, 2012 7:30pm-8:00pm PST
and it's going to happen to me - it's much more evolved and much more joyous, because you know that what comes your way - fine, then you deal - there's where your choice is. it's what you deal with it when it comes. now, are you going to keep the same old negative patterns and behavior, or are you going to learn from it, and in learning from it, grow and move beyond on that level? so that's the idea. just a couple more notes here and then we can turn to the hare krishnas. dharma fits in. dharma and karma, two words you may have heard of in relationship to hinduism - but dharma is this kind of order to everything, the order to the cosmos, but also your obligations in life. now you want to burn up karma; then you do your dharma selflessly - you do it with nonattachment. first off, you're wise enough to learn from your experiences about where you should be in life, and then once having learned that, you follow that without
attachment to the end results, either good or bad. that's the difficult point with karma is renunciation - you renounce the fruits of your efforts and you say, "i'm doing my duty, i'm following my dharma." you see this a lot in buddhism, too, also, when we get there. but that moves you along the path with equanimity so that you're not building up new karma - you're moving along the path, you're growing. and of course, through ultimately, through the various yoga practices, sometimes following a guru, devoting yourself to a guru, these are the kinds of things that release you from the cycle of birth and death, which is your ultimate goal. so we're collecting a lot of interesting answers, but not so far out, really, when you think about it, because they're grounded in identity and grounded in relationship. if you believe your soul is actually eternally one with god, with the divine, and because of maya or illusion or karma or whatever, you live in this dream of separate existence.
then, quite naturally, through the various paths in teaching the sacred text over many millennia, you want to find ways out of that entrapment, or illusory entrapment, back into oneness - back into your state of oneness. i mean, there's just so many beautiful analogies. i use the one about the spray in the ocean, the drop that's momentarily out of the ocean but returns to it. i used to goof around and think of it as a yo-yo theory - all of creation goes down on one spin of the yo-yo, and then inevitably comes back, unless you're lousy at yo-yo like me. but you get the idea of the inward and outward - see, that's why there's such vast expanses of time in hinduism. just a couple of key texts - the swami mentioned a few of them - but there is no one text in hinduism; there are many different texts. it's wide-ranging because it's such an ancient, ancient religion. but we can look at the vedas as being the first key texts - you may have heard of those very ancient texts - closer to nature mysticism. of course, the upanishads
in the next roll-in - we'll hear the wonderful stories that speak of the oneness, particularly arjuna on the field of battle meets krishna, and the great story that everyone turns to with karma that arjuna doesn't want to go into battle, but krishna says, "nobody really lives, nobody really dies - it's that wonderful maya, that dream that we're all living." so, it's kind of like, "get over it, arjuna!" slap on the back. it's kind of like the glenn fry song. but anyway, that's the idea. the bhagavad-gita - that's the one where the arjuna is in - the upanishads is first - bhagavad-gita is where we see arjuna and krishna on the field of battle. and of course, the bhagavad-gita is all part of a vast, vast- the mahabharata is a vast grouping of literature. so just a taste, if you come across those terms and you're reading some of the text that inform, that embody that whole - these answers that we're just beginning to touch on today.
we've stated that one of the key purposes or objectives of beliefs and believers is that well after this class, if hinduism interests you, if it's something that you'd like to continue to explore using your world view analysis skills, these are some of the texts you might look into and follow through if you want to see the incredible depth and detail that they go into with these answers. any other comments or questions before we meet some - another flavor of hinduism? yeah, janet? >> i just want to say one more thing about yoga. i do hatha yoga, and it's actually very popular now with people who are into yoga for the physical benefits of it, and then there's the internal benefits as well. but if my teacher's teacher asks you, "why are you doing yoga?" you have to tell him, "to concentrate the mind." because if you tell him, "my hamstrings are tight," he's going to whomp you right up side the head. so it's for concentration of the mind. and yoga itself won't lead to enlightenment; it won't get you there -
you have to do all the rest of - you have to study the vedanta, you have to do the rest of these things. >> exactly, i mean, we have a holistic view, and of course, most people focus on yoga and some of the unusual activities, but that's the idea here, that we're looking at a path that's going to transform us. and it's back to that personal transformation idea that we've looked at - i mean, that's one of the keys behind religion is to move from one place to a more wide open, or fulfilled - or whole or unify - those terms that keep coming up over and over again. so yeah, you're quite right; you have to have a complete commitment to the path. but we'll be seeing that, throughout the semester - this is really our first touch on a major world religion to ask these questions of. but we're going to find out in the believers. the ones that are making religion work for them are the ones that have put that kind of commitment into it. i mean, i've always found that about religion - it's a two-way avenue, a two-way street, but you've got to bring something to the party. i don't care what faith or religion or path, you've got to make a commitment and meet the divine;
however you can see that it's somewhere along that path - you can't just sit back and do nothing, or simply what so many people want to do, i find, with religion, is to have a set of beliefs - "well, tell me the answers to profound life questions so i could put it on the shelf there, and then go about my business." i mean, i've said this before, when this class is over, i'm going to write about 12 answers to profound life questions and say, "this is it; put it on the shelf," and sell millions of copies. but you're an astute group - you know religion doesn't work that way. it's a constant - as susanna said in the previous class, even the most hierarchically grounded religious leaders have a seeker in the, because you're always, always working at your path - and how could it be any other way? sure. >> you were talking about a commitment. i doubt that very many americans realize what a person from another culture, another country with another language, must experience on first coming to the united states, because first of all, they aren't going to find what
they're used to around them. but their religion is so different to christianity, that for them to maintain it in the face of all this differentness must be a tremendous growth pattern within a reassessing of what their values really are. you bring up a - that's two key ideas that pop into my mind. let me see if i can remember two things at one time here. one is something that didn't get on camera with bishop thomas regarding christianity. from his perspective, this country has lost christianity. he doesn't know what we're doing, but we're not doing christianity, and that was the other point. the flip side of that, to go back to hinduism, is the hare krishnas, who we'll see here shortly, are out on the street proselytizing because that's part of what they see as their duty, that's part of their joy. most hindus, such as the hindus at the lemont temple, or the aurora temple in the greater chicago area
or out in malibu in california, what they're trying to do is what you were talking about, which is to preserve indian culture and indian religion over and against that incredible sandpaper of american cultural experience, i've been told to pull away from the melting pot analogy, and now we've got to talk about tossed salads and eat stuff like that. well, in one sense, though, the melting pot is accurate, because the strip malls, the mcdonald's, the k-marts, the things in our culture have a way of taking the particularity out of immigrants and making it into an amalgam, and some of that's wonderful, some of it's good. but sometimes you have to try very hard to maintain a religious basis in a country like america, which is really decidedly secular. i mean, we've carved out a space that's secular through the first amendment to the u.s. constitution, and religion has then been pushed to the side and it's a private affair. so what's going to fill that space? there's no vacuum. so who knows what fills it.
susanna, yeah? >> well, it was funny the way they did that, because they did separate it, and yet their allusions to god are right through the bill of rights and the declaration of independence. i mean, it's all theistically based. at the same time, they really, basically wanted to keep any group from being able to persecute any other group. so in that sense, they're separated. but i'm not sure how different it is, and maybe india's a poor example of a country who wants to preserve like its own way in the sense that they had so many languages, so many sects, so many different ways that they were not a strong nation before they had a common language, and it's too bad that it's english, but that was one good contribution that was made. the other, i think, is a kind of hindu, a brand that's more frequently spoken than any other. but when you get down to the basic tenets of christianity, i don't know, in the sense of the - you could almost call it passivism - the acceptance and love of your fellow man. you can call it looking at the divine in someone,
or christians speak of being at one with the holy spirit, or seeing christ in your fellow people. and that seems to be a kind of balance, an acknowledgment that we're not perfect- there's room for improvement. but we are wonderful, at the same time. we really are, and the species that god was proud of and loving toward. >> you see more of a relational thing in there. yeah, i see what you're saying, and it's back to our point earlier, that okay, you could be sinners, but at the same time, there's purpose and there's meaning. >> i wanted to elaborate on what i was saying, and that is american religion, right now, is materialism. my children teach, among other things - and when these missionary children, who are all christian, from whatever country they come, nationality they are - go home for their college work, many of them can't face
the materialism that they find, because they don't have that in pakistan. and this becomes more important to have what somebody else has, how to get, what you have to do to get, and a lot of them don't adapt - they go back. they would rather stay there, where there is a very fundamental way of life. even though it's the christianity over there which keeps them apart, they are still - have a unity that gives them an identity. >> and they have freedom from that kind of materialism. i've even seen that with people who come from a small town like mccomb. eventually, they'll go to the city or they'll go to a large college, and somehow, they drift back because there's a simplicity and a lack of materialism with that kind of attitude. let me - well, i promised you a question, let's do it. >> oh, i'm just thinking of what you said about this being
a secular country, and i would agree with that, and that's because we are a plurastic country. we allow everyone to believe in their own way, and to practice their faith, as long as they do not injure anyone else, and this is our country, this is the way it is. and so it must be very difficult for people who come from - >> more totalistic, more unity - >> like a totalistic society and faith, when they come into this country, because immediately they judge that we are not only secular but godless, and materialistic. >> and kind of get confused in that sense because - >> exactly. >> this is a wonderful conversation, and we're going to pick this up when we get to the social dimension, so i don't want to diminish it. before we get to the end of the class, though, i wanted to go to our
hare krishna devotees, to give you another flavor of the hindu world. let's keep these ideas - jot those down - because particularly your comments, i love this - is this country godless? what does religious freedom do? what does pluralism do? so important in the social dimension. and of course, we're such an astute group, we've already jumped about five dimensions ahead. but let's not - let's just put it on the back burner and keep it in mind. now, looking at the hare krishna, a lot of people thought the hare krishnas were some kind of a new age cult when they seemed to emerge on the scene in the '70s, and part of it was just their aggressive proselytizing, but it's another very ancient form of hinduism. now, from the experiential dimension, we're going to meet shankara pundit, who's president of the hare krishna temple in the chicago area. and shankara, who was a seeker - he's an american, was in a rock band, looked for answers to life, picked up some books, picked up the bhagavad gita, picked up the literature from the hare krishna movement,
and he found. well, he's going to talk about his own experience as a hare krishna, and so we'll listen to identity and relationship in his comments, but also the joy, the bhakti, the pleasure, the bliss that a hare krishna devotee feels when he calls on the name of god and when he honors the name of god. so let's hear it from the voice of a believer - shankara pundit, hare krishna devotee. >> this chanting consists of three words - hare, krishna, and rama. hare represents the spiritual energy that connects us with the god. the word krishna is a name for god, meaning the all attractive person. and rama is a name for the lord, meaning the reservoir, or source of all pleasure. so i'll take just a couple of minutes to chant, a demonstration. [chanting music - singing]
well, we're known as the hare krishnas, because we're seen to be chanting and dancing on street corners and so many things. >> right. >> that of course is a spiritual experience, because to glorify the name of god is a universal principal accepted in all religions. even the bible says one should call upon the name of god. so again, krishna, being a name for god, means that we are glorifying him by this particular type of chanting, or glorification. so a devotee of krishna may have different types of spiritual experiences,
based upon their individual level of advancement and purification. in our history of krishna - consciousness culture, there have been examples of devotees that become so pure or so advance in their love for krishna, their love for god, that when they chant, automatically tears of love or appreciation come from their eyes. >> see, this again is that example of bhakti yoga - when they get together, when they chant, you see them on the street corners, it's a praying to god, it's a being one with god, it's calling forth god's presence. now, not all hare krishna devotees are out along the street corners, there used to be more in the airport selling you books i mean, there's so many hare krishna jokes. but that's why i wanted to bring the hare krishna movement in when we're talking about hinduism because it's - another little class lesson, it's so easy to perhaps
make fun of people from apart, and when you get to the movement, he fully admitted later in the interview that, well, yes, in the '70s, they were a little aggressive with some of their proselytizing techniques, but that seemed to be of the nature of the time. but you talk to them and you find that the chanting, all they're trying to do is to keep the names of god in mind and to bring that presence into their lives and into the lives of others. so another flavor to hinduism. comments you might have, in general, on the hare krishna? janet, i wanted to ask you if what he's saying about the chanting corresponds to some of your experience, along these lines? i mean, does that what the - when you were chanting, to start it out, is it calling forth the name of god in a kind of a, how would you say, asking god to come down, that sort of thing? >> actually, i was taught it's a prayer of thankfulness, it's a prayer of gratitude to recognize that patanjali has given so many great gifts to humans. and so it's a recognition of the gifts that he's given -
and the gratitude. so it's said more with a tone of gratitude. >> and that's what we heard when we spoke in class with the hare krishnas and they were opened up to that. god to them is very much a personal deity. you see, we're getting a little bit of variation there. they're not going to go with that monist idea, the "not two" idea, the dante idea - they want krishna there; they want rama. and if you've had a chance to look at their literature or go into one of their temples, you'll see it's very colorful. god is about bliss and god's playful and god's beautiful, and they want a relationship with that. and in fact, that's why, in their various festivals, it's such a very colorful idea. but the motivation is still the same - towards a sense of oneness, towards achman - however the relationship, coming around to being one with brahman - and it's a path they take quite seriously. >> i have several gregorian chant tapes, and they put me in a meditative
and in touch with god mood. they're in a language i don't understand, but - >> the feeling. >> yes. >> and we're going to see chanting, we're going to see drumming - as you know, they're playing, what's it called, the tabla, is that the name of that drum? we'll see chanting, we'll see drumming many, many times throughout the semester, in a wide variety of ways. i think we're almost back to like in the previous class with wendy wright talking about music in the christian context. here in the hindu context, it's a need to evoke the spiritual, to bring - to create an atmosphere, like gregorian chant, which they will do at the monasteries; like we mentioned, it's beautiful. yeah, susanna? >> [inaudible], which is in - from france, and it was i think roman catholic priests or whoever started it, but it is quite, interfaith also. >> the swiss, 1947,
i think. yes. >> yes, and it's all very repetitive, and the point of it is to bring one closer to god - >> yeah, you see the connection. we move from mystics and meditation into hinduism, and shortly, we'll be looking at buddhism also, which follows along nicely. but we're looking at ways of transforming our ordinary, everyday sense of self experientially, which kind of - like the farmer out in the field prepares the ground for planting, you have to have the right kind of soil, the right kind of preparation in order for religious feelings and for the other dimensions to grow. >> i went to a taize service in evanston about two months ago, and on a thursday night, the catholic church was filled, absolutely filled. everybody had a candle. the chants were very simple, and very evocative, and people were very moved. >> and when they do this in taize, france, it's my understanding that they're - especially youth are drawn to this -
thousands. every time they have this taize prayer service, they're there - they come from who knows where - and they are moved and they participate. because it's all very simple, it's very easy to get into. and the nature of it is - i experienced it at st. clemens church in downtown chicago, and it starts out very softly, just maybe an instrument, maybe the temple bells, janet, that you used too - but anyway, very softly, then builds, gets to a great crescendo, and then it subsides, just by the will of the people who are doing it. and then there's silence, and this where you make space - there's a centering prayer that happens then. >> it's that same kind of element there. >> then it picks up again. >> and you can see that in the jewish prayer, also, and how that builds and builds - it can get very loud, and then it moves in there. well, we have just about time to do one more roll-in, and i thought it might be a - since we've talked about the seeker style. we happened to go out to yet another site in the area, the hindu temple,
and we met a young woman by the name of lolita, who's a westerner, who's such a seeker, and just to get to go in and find a westerner, because here we have a hindu temple, the vishnu temple, which, as i mentioned, is there to preserve indian culture. so they're not out proselytizing, they're not looking for western devotees. but she had - she described it so well - she had spent her whole life looking for a set of answers to profound life questions - using our terminology, not hers - and then she found it within the hindu religion, and then hindu mode. so, if we could, just a very short roll-in on lolita at the vishnu temple in vermont. were your parents christian, or did you come from... >> my parents are christian, yes. >> do they have anything to say about the fact that you've become a hindu? >> my father passed away before he knew. my mother, in the beginning, was upset, okay? and i think it was the fear
that she felt that i was going to be taken away or brainwashed, or taken away from god. and i explained to her, god, there's only one - i love god, i respect jesus, he's god too. but i feel that hinduism has answered all the questions that i've had, as opposed to christianity that has not answered all my questions. >> well, we've been talking in our class about religious experience. is there a way that you might define the spiritual aspect, the spiritual experience when say you're in meditation or in prayer, something of that sort? >> the spiritual experience that you encounter is just of pure love and pure bliss. and then, that feeling that you bring, you try to share it with the world, you try to bring it to the world. it's not something that, you keep it inside -
you want to live your spirituality; you don't want to just go to church or any temple or anyplace, say off your prayers and then go out of the building and do all the wrong things. and by wrong things, i'm talking about greed and power and lust - all the negative vibrations or thoughts. god is pure love, and when you encounter another human being who god has made, you treat him accordingly, even if that person is not as let's say spiritually evolved, okay? it's just like people in first grade, second grade, high school, and then college - so it is with spirituality. everybody in the whole world is in a different stage of spiritual evolvement. >> some very wise things she said that have touched on key class themes. one is, you don't just go to a building on a certain
time of the week and do the certain thing and expect that to be religion. now she said christianity didn't work for her, but i suspect it's because that's how she was introduced into christianity, the way that so often people are. what she's saying is something that we've brought up, believe it or not, folks, down to our last minute - again, i don't know where time goes in this class. but as we look through the experiential dimension, i think, over and over, we come back to the fact that there's an integrity in believers, an authenticity to it, but you've got to go out and try it. you know, you've got to go out and do it. just speaking about it, reading a book, doing a text-it's almost, again, all the other dimensions follow the experiential dimension, because until you have some kind of transformative experience, well, why do it? well, as we've seen, there's other styles, the communal style, people do it out of fear, they just have something they want to believe. but if we listen to lolita, what you see is you've got to, first off, feeling it, it has to have some kind of
compassion and caring for other people, and then you go out and you have to do it. now in our next class, we're going to be looking at buddhism, i believe, which is, of course, an interesting - the buddha himself a hindu seeker. and what does the buddha find? well, a whole new and extraordinary set of answers to profound life questions.